Up to one-third of all burn patients in hospitals in the top meth-producing states are would-be meth makers.
According to a report by the AP's Jim Salter, the average treatment for burn patients costs about $6,000 per day. For meth patients the average hospital stay costs about $130,000, or 60% more than other burn victims.
Mixing Unstable Ingredients
Because many of those meth patients do not have insurance, the costs of treatment is overwhelming some providers. Salter reported that six burn units in the U.S. have shut down in the past six years, partially due to the increase in the number of meth-burned patients.
Using the 'one pot' or 'shake and bake' method, they mix unstable ingredients in plastic 2-liter soda bottles. If the cap to the bottle is removed too quickly or the plastic bottle is perforated, the mixture can explode.
"You're holding a flame-thrower in your hands," one law enforcement officer told Salter.
Treatment Challenges for Meth Victims
The exploding meth bottles typically explode while they are being held by the meth maker. The result can be permanent disfigurement, blindness and death.
Making treatment more difficult for healthcare providers is the fact that shake and bake victims are usually both burned by flames and also chemically burned. On top of those challenges, most of the burned meth patients are actively addicted, making treatment even more complicated.
Salter said a true estimate on the exact healthcare costs of shake and bake meth making is not possible because many meth patients lie to providers about the cause of their burns.
New Source: Meth Fills Hospitals With Burn Patients More About Meth: